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Introducing your mini to new flavors and textures is an exciting development. And seeing her mush an avocado between her fingers or light up when she tries banana for the first time is adorable (definitely make sure you have the camera ready). But convincing your kid that broccoli is delicious can be challenging—and seriously messy. Enter a high chair that’s designed to make family mealtimes safer, easier and less sloppy (maybe). Here’s your complete guide to the best high chairs, including what to look for when buying or adding one to your registry.

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When to Get a High Chair

There’s no need to invest in a high chair until your kid starts eating solids (usually around 6 months) since you’ll be nursing or bottle feeding until then. (Psst: Here’s how to tell if your kid is ready for solids.) But many parents choose to add a high chair to their baby registry and then keep it in storage until they need it. If this is you, consider getting one that doesn’t take up too much space (more on that below).

Do I Really Need One?

As any mom will tell you, a high chair is on the must-have list of baby items. That’s because a high chair will prop your mini up in a proper upright position for eating solids and start your kid on the path to enjoying meals with the family. They’re also a great (and safe) place to stash your kid while you get dinner ready. Yet another reason high chairs are recommended? They can help contain some of the mess that comes with starting to eat solids.

A Few Factors to Consider When Choosing a High Chair

Space: For those with tight living quarters, a sleeker model or a portable chair that attaches directly to your dining room table or kitchen countertop is ideal.

Life span: When making your baby registry or imagining spoon-feeding your mini, you’re probably envisioning a babbling infant smearing peas all over her face. But some chairs will actually grow with your child, taking them from infancy to toddlerhood.

Cleanliness: Even if you don’t decide to go the baby-led weaning route, there’s still going to be a lot of mess. And no parent has time to scrub applesauce out of every nook and cranny. Look for chairs that are easy to wipe down or have removable parts that can be tossed into the dishwasher. 

Usability: Can you adjust the height of the seat so that it’s at the same level as your dining table? Is the tray easy for adults to remove (but will stay in place for your kid)? Does it have a wide base that will keep the chair stable or protruding legs could be a tripping hazard? These are all important things to keep in mind.

Price: Like car seats, cribs and gliders, there’s a huge range in price when it comes to high chairs. And as any seasoned parent will tell you, kids are expensive. So it’s not a bad idea to set a budget for your high chair and stick to it.

Safety: Fortunately, the vast majority of high chairs on the market have gone through rigorous safety testing to ensure that your kid stays secure. But it can’t hurt to check for a three- or five-point harness, a stable base (if there are wheels, make sure they lock in place) and a crotch post so that your kid can’t slide out. This is especially important if you’re inheriting a hand-me-down high chair.

1. Graco Blossom 6-in-1 High Chair

This top-rated chair wins rave reviews for its versatility—it boasts six different height adjustments, three recline positions and three footrest positions. You can even seat two children in it at once as your family grows (one in the booster seat that can be strapped onto a kitchen chair for kids up to 60 pounds and the other in the high chair). It also features a dishwasher-safe tray insert and a machine-washable seat pad (the footrest and frame can also be wiped down easily). “Both of my kids—and my friends’ kids when they would come to visit—have used this chair,” one mom tells us. “And considering the amount of cutlery banging and food flinging that it’s experienced, it still looks pretty good! I love that I can wheel it around my kitchen so that I can put it away in the corner when we’re having a grown-ups-only dinner party.” 

$146 at Amazon

2. Inglesina High Chair

“This is the only high chair you’ll ever need,” one mom gushes. And it’s not hard to see why. This portable high chair can turn almost any table (as long as it’s at least 3.3 inches thick) into an eating area for your child thanks to the twist-tight coupling that fixes the chair onto the surface while leaving it scratch-free. “Kids love feeling like they’re with you at the table as they get older, and it’s ideal for bringing to restaurants or on trips. It also folds away quickly and takes up so little space that I can easily put it away when I have company,” she adds. (The Inglesina also weighs less than five pounds, so transporting it is a cinch.) Great for babies and toddlers between 6 and 36 months, the machine-washable chair and easy-to-wipe tray means you can continue to use it for multiple kids. Extra cool feature? Its handy travel-friendly bag fits both the chair and the dining tray (available at an additional cost) and is sewn into the bottom of the chair so it’s practically impossible to lose it. Parents also love the rear storage pocket for keeping accessories like bibs and spoons nearby.

$74 at Amazon

3. 4Moms High Chair

From the makers of the mamaRoo comes this tricked-out high chair that’s designed to make mealtimes easier. A magnetic tray glides into position with only one hand (great when you’re carrying a baby in the other) and keeps bowls and plates in place (necessary when your toddler decides she hates anything green). “I’m obsessed with this chair,” one happy parent tells us. “It has a clip-on tray that attaches to another tray, so I just have to unclick the top one to rinse it off in the sink or pop it into the dishwasher. You can also machine-wash the shoulder straps, which I haven’t had to do yet but I’m sure that will come in handy too. And the magnets are amazing for making sure that my kid can’t fling her bowl onto the ground.” Made for kids up to 60 pounds, it has three adjustable height positions, plus a removable foam insert. 

$300 at Amazon

4. Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair

You’re not a regular mom, you’re a cool mom. And you want a high chair that matches your Scandi-chic aesthetic. Enter this sleek model made from easy-to-clean European beech wood, finished with water-based, nontoxic paint and available in a range of colors (including midnight blue, moss green and serene pink). And it’ll last you until your kid is all grown up—no booster seat necessary. (In fact, this chair can handle up to 242 pounds, so can be used by adults too.) “It was an investment up front, but I love it,” one PureWow mom reveals. “While all my friends are in the throes of buying separate ‘toddler’ high chairs or booster seats they strap to chairs at their kitchen table, we’re just modifying the Tripp Trapp, removing the tray and sliding our son right up to the table. It’s also been very comfortable and easy to clean. We didn’t even buy the cushioned seat liner, but our son has happily sat in it from the get-go.” Created by Norwegian designer Peter Opsvik in 1972, this timeless piece doesn’t come with a tray (it’s available at an extra cost) but will easily tuck into your dining-room table. Parents also love the plastic gliders that attach to the back legs for increased stability—a nice feature to have with wriggly toddlers.

$269 at Amazon

5. IKEA Antilop High Chair

You can’t beat the price of this simple yet functional chair. “We had an expensive one that we never used, and ended up loving this no-frills IKEA one instead,” one mom tells us. “It is super easy to clean (I couldn’t deal with fabric) and looks sleek. And the best part? It’s $20!” Parents also appreciate that you just need to pop off the legs for easy storage or transport (although at this budget-friendly price, you can have one at home and another one at Grandma’s house without breaking the bank). The tray is included and features raised edges to prevent spills and crumbs from ending up on the floor (in theory, anyway). Designed for children up to 3 years old or a maximum weight of 33 pounds.

Buy It ($20)

6. Lalo High Chair

This two-in-one high chair and play chair combo includes a seat, harness, infant cushion, belly bar, tray and footrest, plus a set of play chair legs. Designed to be used until your child is 3 years old, this elegant silhouette looks right at home in the kitchen or in a child’s bedroom. It’s made from BPA-free, food-safe plastic and sustainable beech wood, and it has a cotton cushion. “I was drawn to this high chair because the clean design matched my apartment,” says one new mom. “I was also looking for a chair that came in black and wood. I love that it’s lightweight and easy to move around. Also, the price is very fair because it comes with everything as opposed to having to make additional purchases for the seat insert or tray. It also can convert to a play chair, which I haven’t used yet but definitely plan to!”

Buy It ($195)

7. Chicco Polly 5-in-1 High Chair

“This sturdy chair has lasted my family through two kids and countless tantrums, accidents and mishaps,” says one mom. “I love how easily it folds up,” she adds. In fact, this space saver can fold down to a compact 12 inches in height and can be quickly wheeled into a corner or closet when not in use. With four recline positions and eight height adjustments, this functional pick is designed to take your tot from newborn to youth (up to 60 pounds). “But the big draw for me is that you can take the tray off and put it on with one hand, so I can do it while holding my 8-month-old instead of having to put him down. Because seriously, what mom ever has two hands free?”

$200 at Amazon

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